Ms Jean's Southern Cuisine - Kitchen Nightmares Update - Open or Closed?

Ms Jean's Southern Cuisine Kitchen Nightmares

In this Kitchen Nightmares episode, Gordon Ramsay visits Ms Jean's Southern Cuisine in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania.

Ms Jean's Southern Cuisine was opened 12 years ago by retired special education teacher, Jean Gould.

She opened the restaurant after members of her church praised her cooking and encouraged her to open a restaurant.

The restaurant is empty most nights and has few customers when there are bookings.

The staff feel that Jean is generous and caring but when customers complain Jean argues with them and accuses them of lying.

Jean believes the staff are lazy but the staff say that they are shouted at constantly for no reason.

Jean approaches Gordon at his hotel with a peach cobbler in hand as Gordon was about to go to the restaurant.

Gordon asks Jean what she thinks the restaurant’s greatest problem is.

Jean says her biggest problems are the staff as they are always late and they are always on their phones, taking unnecessary breaks and gossiping during work.

Jean doubts she is going to make it through the month as she is in a lot of debt.

She ranks the food as an 8/10 and Gordon assures her that he is going to help her out.

Gordon arrives at the restaurant and there is nobody there to greet him.

The staff are out the back, either eating or smoking.

Gordon is shocked by how empty the restaurant was and there is no sign that it is a restaurant.

There isn’t any sign of food in the place, even in the empty desert display.

Gordon meets with the staff, the staff say Jean puts the blame on them to get all the blame off her for the problems in the restaurant.

Cook Sharneil tells Gordon that Jean is mean to both the staff and customers and has an attitude problem and the staff agree .

She says she is both mean and nice at the same time.

Jean says she yells at the staff because she has to tell them the same thing repeatedly.

She feels she has to fire the staff but the soft part of her tells her to give them another chance.

Gordon sits down to order and to his surprise, most of the menu items he tried to order are unavailable.

After many dishes being unavailable, he orders the pork chops, ribs and mac and cheese.

He also orders an iced tea that he thinks tastes like sugar syrup.

Gordon gets up for a walk about and he notices one of the customer’s dishes is not cooked properly and he asks the server to take it back to be redone.

He also finds Jeans exercise bike in the corner of a corridor of the restaurant.

Seeing the returned dish, Jean gets angry as she doesn’t know why the dish was served like that in the first place.

She starts shouting at everybody in the kitchen about them not doing their jobs correctly.

The ribs arrive and Gordon thinks they have a weird saltiness to them.

The returned dish was taken to Jean to taste in the kitchen and she says it is not salty.

She believes Gordon doesn’t know anything about soul food.

The mac and cheese arrives still sizzling from the microwave and it doesn’t look good.

Gordon describes it as dreadful as it is bland and overcooked.

Jean tastes it and says it is real good.

The pork chop isn't much better and there are flies flying around Gordon whilst he is eating.

Gordon thinks the pork chop is greasy and dry and the flies are not even interested in it.

Jean tastes the dish he returns and says the food isn’t dry at all.

Gordon meets Jean and the staff in the kitchen and tells them the lunch was a joke.

Jean refuses to accept his critique of her dishes and keeps arguing with him.

She says the food was good and there hasn’t been any complains about it.

Gordon says there were no complains because there was no customers to complain.

Gordon returns to observe the dinner service and is welcomed by hostess Amelia.

He compares the reception to a waiting room at a doctor’s surgery.

Gordon observes the kitchen during the service and notices the orders are stuck on the fridge.

He also notices that the kitchen is disorganized as no one works together.

Jean attempts to make the chefs work together on the dishes but Sharneil refuses.

He says they all will be doing their own individual tickets as they get confused whenever they share the same ticket.

The dishes that manage to get out are not impressive to the customers as the pork chops are overcooked and the chicken is dry.

The customers that do get their food are being disturbed by the flies as they try to eat.

Gordon ventures out to reception to find one of the hostesses on their cell phone.

The hostess argues that she can always see out the window if someone is coming into the restaurant.

Gordon calls Jean to the reception hall and tells the hostess that it’s unfair to Jean that she is on the phone while the restaurant is busy.

The hostess tells Gordon that she is a volunteer and Jean says that doesn’t stop her from following the rules.

The resulting argument leads to the hostess quitting and leaving the restaurant.

Gordon notices that a lot of chicken are being sent back for being dry and he discovers that the chickens being served is leftover from lunch.

Jean gets angry over the food being sent back as it is costing her money.

She breaks into tears and walks out of the kitchen.

Gordon calls a meeting with Jean and the cooks and tells Jean her system of running the restaurant isn’t working.

Gordon takes Jean and her staff to a theatre.

He shows them a clip he calls “The Other Side of Ms Jean”, a collection of interviews from customers who was met the mean side of Ms Jean.

These customers were so put off by this that they promised never to return.

After the film, he tells them there has to be an attitude adjustment, not only by. Jean but all of the staff.

Jean breaks down into tears as she was unaware that the customers felt this way about her.

Gordon calls a meeting with the former diners and Jean apologizes to everyone.

She promises that they will now be served with a smile from then on.

Gordon gives the restaurant a huge makeover nearly doubling the capacity.

The staff enters and they were amazed at how gorgeous it is.

Jean couldn’t hide her joy and she gives Gordon a big hug.

Gordon also changes the menu to southern comfort food with a fun twist and all the dishes in the menu are available to order.

The staff tastes the new food and thinks that it is delicious.

On relaunch night, the relaunch is popular with many locals in including the mayor.

Gordon has reorganized the kitchen and he puts Jean in charge.

The staff respond well to the new leadership and new system and appetizers make their way out to the customers quickly.

Everyone including the Mayor is impressed with the new food.

Soon after a lack of coordination between Jean and the front of house slows down the service and the customers are getting impatient.

Marissa breaks down under pressure.

Gordon stops the service temporarily and Jean gives Marissa a pep talk.

She gets it back together and the relaunch is much smoother.

The relaunch is a success.

Gordon commends them all after service and praises Jean on how she handled the pressure in the kitchen.

He declares that “Ms Mean” has left the building.

What Happened Next at Ms Jean's Southern Cuisine?

In the following days, the Mayor awarded Jean for her years of service to the community and June 3rd was declared Ms Jeans day.

Ms Jeans is still open as Jean's Southern Cuisine but has moved to a new location, 807 Wallace Avenue, Wilkinsburg PA 15221.

Reviews are positive, Yelp reviews were average up until 2017, after this reviews improved are very positive.

Planning a visit? Check out their Facebook page for opening hours and more info.

Ms Jean's Southern Cuisine was aired on November 16 2012, the episode was filmed in May/June 2012 and is Kitchen Nightmares season 6 episode 4.

This post was last updated in March 2023.


  1. I just drove past Ms. Jean's Southern Cuisine today in Wilkinsburg. Sadly it is no longer open. From what I understand they went back to the old menu and then they closed.
    I have lived in Pittsburgh all my life and, unfortunately Wilkinsburg is one of the most depressed areas near (technically not in) the city. Nothing short of a miracle would keep a restaurant open in this location.
    There are at least a hundred restaurants in Pittsburgh that Gordon could have had a success story with. The show should look around a little more when they pick the spots to fix up. I'd really like to try a restaurant that has been on KN but I don't want to drive 100+ miles to do it. So many of these restaurants seem to want to get on the show for publicity but not actually take the advice. I wish they would have done one of those shots showing Gordon driving up to the place on the street, that way everyone could see - no amount of publicity would make people want to park their car in this neighborhood at night. If you're not from Wilkinsburg, you're not going to go there to eat at a restaurant.
    They showed Gordon coming out of the William Penn Hotel downtown and he probably drove past dozens of better candidates on the way. Such a shame.

    1. NOBODY expects 100% of restaurants to succeed. if Gordon can get at least ONE restaurant back from black, one is more than NONE. face it, they were on their way out before they got on the show. and OF COURSE, if he had gotten there SOONER, the odds would be better! Gordon is loved, at least he tries- what did YOU DO TO HELP?

    2. Considering that the success rate would probably be 0% without Ramsay, I think you're being just a teensy bit unfair to the guy.

  2. FYI to the OP - they have since done Levanti's in Beaver, PA (which is probably the next closest to Pittsburgh). Just went there recently and it's good food. :) And if you go, might want to check out Kretchmar's Bakery or one of the ice cream/yogurt places up the street (within walking distance). :D

  3. Just watched the episode here in Hong Kong on our cable box. BBC channel. I have seen most of his shows, both UK & US. Gordon shows all rest operators and owner the way. From your list 80% are closed. And now it seems Ms Jeans has done the same or what I see on line moved location. Gordon made her a new rest and menu. Yet from what you all say, changed back to the old "cant make money-bad unsellable food" way. Why do owners do that?? Why do they not follow Gordons rules??. Once they get to try Gordons new menu. they all say Oh My. So why?? Even watching Ms jeans, the entire staff say the food is out of this world. Can someone tell me why go back and not forward. Im using windows 7. Not 3.1 from 20yrs. My computer will never work. Maybe it will just send emails and play games. I hope all future rest owners seeking help from an expert, FOLLOW IT! Gordon has been expending. New cook books, new shows, new restaurant's around the world etc.. Yet they call Ramsey for help. Why?? Anyway, I hope I can get your opion and comment's on all this. Another programme I love is Bar Rescue. I'm a DJ and my Gf is a head cook. We both go all out in making sure we deliver 1000%..

  4. When it comes to shows like these, you have to realize that they need help for a reason. They got into the positions that they are because they have absolutely no business and opening a business. Lol! A lot of the time they open a bar because they like to drink, they open a restaurant because they like to eat. Those are not valid reasons to open businesses. You cannot expect anyone to be able to save someone who is in some cases millions of dollars in debt because usually ego is at play. You have owners who rarely know nothing more than how to eat, megalomaniac chefs and worthless staff. Most places are mere months from closing when he shows up. You can only hold creditors off for so long.

  5. Granted I have only seen 1/4 of the total episodes on that list (thus far) but this was by far the most shocking & depressing "restaurant". It looked like a shelter for homeless. Such restaurants exist in Pittsburgh? Why was the greeter at the front (always on cell phone) a helper? Was hoping Gordon would question this. Anyhow I assume the answer to "Why do owners return to the old menus" is 2-sided. Usually the regulars return demanding their favorite classic plates. But I fear the reason establishments like Ms.Jean go back to old ways is simply lack of supplies. This was the first episode which didn't include Gordon investigating the freezer/supply room. I think that is very telling. Remember he tried ordering and most of the plates on the menu were out? And what they managed to serve looked like low quality TV dinners. Quick search on Yelp shows she now runs a Buffet with hit & miss results. I see photos (None of Ramsey's makeover objects around) and am still amazed such a place still exists. No standards in Pittsburgh?

    1. Wilkinsburg isn't properly in the city; it's an adjacent area that is severely economically depressed. It doesn't have anything to do with the "standards in Pittsburgh" as a whole. The shots of the city were probably used to make the episode look more appealing than shots of Wilkinsburg itself would look.

    2. Wilkinsburg...? Let's call it by what it's ACTUALLY know around here: 'Will-kill-yinz-burgh' --it's the hood. Plain and simple, it's staffed and run by exactly who you'd expect: The entitled class.

    3. "Plain and simple, it's staffed and run by exactly who you'd expect: The entitled class."

      Oh, I didn't see any white millennials there.

    4. Despite being a white millenial, I LOLed at that comment.

  6. Where can i find the episode at? I live in Pittsburgh... And like many other folks. Who see things close to home. I'd love to see this episode!!!

    1. This episode is free on

  7. The joke isn't Ramsay it's the restaurant owners. If you look at some of these restaurants that closed after he tried to help it's because they go back to the old ways. If I had someone like Ramsay to help me I would be bending over backwards and listening to every word he uttered. Not to mention after seeing how dirty and disgusting these restaurants are to begin with would you eat there after Ramsay was gone. They dug their graves and buried themselves. Ramsay would have to be a certified miracle worker to help them. I don't know how anyone can say that Ramsay didn't help. Most of these restaurants would probably be closed in less than 6 months without him and because of him managed to stay open for a year or longer. It goes back to that old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink". He gave them the tools if they chose not to use them then shame on them.

    1. You are right to an extent, but I think that restaurant owners that do what you say you would do , and that is swallow your pride, listen to your staff and customers and consider and accept change, probably wouldn't be in the position that the restaurants in the show are in and wouldn't need the sort of help that he offers. What can you say about chef Ramsey is that he knows his stuff and he tries, but he does make mistakes, but he does have the courage to admit them, even on the show. That says a lot about a person.

  8. I wonder how many go on the show just to Up Their Profile so they can turn around and sell it for more than they would have without having been on Kitchen Nightmare.
    Because Several of the Restaurants he tried to help sold within months of the shows airing.
    Some did close due to gross incompetence.
    They fail to grasp even SOME of the Basic Requirements for running a restaurant (I know there's more)
    1. Fresh Food---Never Frozen. (Unless it's Ice Cream)
    2. A Clean Restaurant and Kitchen.
    3. Food properly labeled and stored properly.
    4. A friendly & knowledgeable staff
    5. Making sure the outside looks nice. Ugly exteriors will cause people to walk or drive by said establishment.
    6. If a customer wanted canned or frozen food they would have stayed home.
    7. Fix equipment as quickly as possible. Broken equipment may cost a bit up front but it could be even more costly down the line.
    8. Never yell at Employees or Customers. This is the worst P.R and word will spread and people WILL stop coming to said restaurant.
    9. If a customer complains, deal with it quickly and politely. Don't ARGUE! Only MORONS argue with the Customer.
    10. Some study cooking BUT how many Future Restaurant Owners have brain enough to take a business course or two? I know one Restaurant Owner on KN HAD Studied Business for two years BUT she never studied Cooking. It CAN'T be one or the other. It HAS to be both!
    11. Know EVERY job in the Restaurant from Dishwasher To Waitress/Waiter to Manager To Head Chef.

  9. One of the more bizarre episodes. I guess they just wanted to show that Ramsay could cook soul food. We never got a kitchen walk through. We never saw Ramsay training the kitchen staff. Miss Jean and the staff were the stars of the show - it felt like Ramsay was making a guest appearance on a sitcom.

    1. This may be because their walk-in situation might've been decent. Gordon said 2/3 of the menu wasn't available during his first meal there so that means they probably aren't hoarding lots of spoiled or frozen food.

      Also the kitchen staff seemed to be getting the food out at a good pace even though their style was a bit unorthodox so he may not have had to train them up so hard.

  10. Ramsay has managed to save these restaurants at about a rate of 40%. That's pretty good considering over 75% fail in the first year and many of the owners featured on KN have no business running a bath, let alone a restaurant. There are a few comments above about how some ask Gordon in to help rebuild credibility and then sell it off. That's been the case with a number of them. National television, local news, celebrity chef, and a six figure remodel to boot? If I was a half-million in debt and found a way out from under the rock, you can't exactly blame them. Do you have any idea how long it takes to recoup that much money in any business, let alone one that has such high overhead? If you think you can, you are stupider than Vic from the "Fiesta Sunrise" episode, and that guy was one thick brick!

  11. Just watched it on FYI. My thoughts on the show is that no owner ever listens.
    If Ramsey is having personal success at his restaurants, he knows what time it is.
    You either take advantage or you don't.

    1. I don't know how they're still open. They're only open four days out if the week, in a weird part of the city, and are only open from 11.30-7.

  12. Are you're eyes open. Do you guys see what he's walking into. I guess he shall just leave the rats the mildew growth mold. Leave family's hateing each other. All while the customer pays for it all. None of you have an idea how hard it is to love to serve someone else. From Hi too Thank You for coming just those words alone people find hard to say.

  13. Most of the restaurants that Gordon goes to are already too far in debt to bounce back and be successful. I'm glad this one is still open. I loved the younger waitress, she had a calm air to her and I loved the family vibe the staff exhibited. Even though Ms.Jean could be nasty, they always had a prayer at the ready for her and support.


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